California State Prison, Sacramento ("New Folsom")
On November 9 and November 17, 1998, the 1998-1999 Sacramento County Grand Jury toured California State Prison, Sacramento, sometimes referred to as "New Folsom." This is a reference to the fact that the facility sits adjacent to the original Folsom State Prison, which is generally called "Old Folsom."
The construction of California State Prison, Sacramento began in November 1984 and was completed October 1, 1986. California State Prison, Sacramento is located on approximately 1,200 acres in the eastern portion of Sacramento County within the City of Folsom. The area in Folsom where the prison is physically located is known as Represa.
California State Prison, Sacramento was designed for a capacity of 1,536 inmates to be housed in its three semi-autonomous Level IV (maximum security) facilities and 192 inmates in its Level I (minimum security) facility. The institution regularly operates at almost twice its capacity, averaging more than 2,900 Level IV inmates and approximately 288 Level I inmates. This is routinely accomplished through double bunking. In some cases, the gymnasiums in the Level IV facilities are converted to dormitories to house overflow Level I, II and III inmates from other correctional institutions in the state.
The Grand Jury was informed that the current ethnic composition in the prison was as follows:
Reasons for incarceration at this facility, as presented by prison officials, are:
70.3% Violence (murder, rape, kidnap, assault)
The Grand Jury learned that, at the time of its tour, approximately 1,310 inmates were serving sentences of life or life without parole, with 80 percent in the former category.
The Grand Jury learned that California State Prison, Sacramento was constructed using the "180" design, which is the Department of Correction's most secure prison design. "One-eighty " refers to the design of the cell blocks (housing units) which are partitioned into three separate, self-contained sections forming a 180 degree half circle. The partitioning of sections, blocks and facilities ensures maximum control of movement and swift, decisive isolation of disruptive inmates, allowing effective management of a large inmate population. In addition, separation of facilities provides for the physical separation of inmate enemies by minimizing inmate contact between facilities.
Prison officials explained to the Grand Jury that the prison is comprised of three similar but separate self-contained facilities. Facilities A, B and C are each under the direction of a facility captain and are each comprised of eight housing blocks and a recreation yard. Each facility has a gymnasium, chapel, law library, drop-in health clinic, work training/education center, canteen, clothing exchange, visiting area, and facility administration program offices.
The prison has an 8,950-foot double-perimeter fence enclosing inmate housing and industry support facilities. There are 12 guard towers located at approximately 700-foot intervals around the perimeter. In January 1995, California State Prison, Sacramento joined the Statewide Electrified Fence Project and activated a lethal, electrified fence located between the double-perimeter fences. As a result of the activation of this fence, ten of the 12 towers were decommissioned. This produced an annual savings of $2,460,000 which, in one year, offset the cost of the fence. In 1998, a net was placed over the lethal fence to protect wildlife from electrocution.
The Grand Jury learned that while "New" and "Old" Folsom prisons are separate, there are certain functions carried out jointly. California State Prison, Sacramento provides infirmary and administrative segregation (special secure housing) for the inmates from Folsom State Prison and the Folsom Community Correctional Facility. Firing range operations, fire department, the Special Emergency Response and Negotiations Management teams, honor guard, Citizens' Advisory Committee, mental health crisis beds, food services, laundry and visitor processing are all provided through a joint effort between the two prisons. The kitchen at "New" Folsom prepares more than 20,000 meals daily for its own inmates as well as for "Old" Folsom and the Folsom Community Correctional Facility.
The Grand Jury was informed that the prison had a total staffing level of 1,121 employees, 760 of whom were peace officers. The current annual operating budget is $80.6 million.
According to prison officials, the principal focus at California State Prison, Sacramento is to safely house Level IV, maximum security, and Level I, minimum security, inmates. Meaningful work, academic and vocational training, and an extensive industries program are emphasized. Types of programs offered at California State Prison, Sacramento are:
VOCATIONAL ACADEMIC PRISON INDUSTRY
Culinary Arts Pre-Release Laundry
The Grand Jury was informed that in 1999 a new non-acute care correctional treatment center will be completed. The center will improve the prison's ability to efficiently and effectively address inmate health care and will be licensed by the state Department of Health Services. While offering more services than a typical medical clinic, it will not provide the full complement of services found in a hospital setting.
Finding and Recommendation
Finding #1: The Grand Jury learned that there are no security monitoring cameras in the inmate exercise yards at the prison. The Grand Jury was informed that cameras have been requested through channels at the Department of Corrections.
Recommendation #1: The Grand Jury supports the installation of security monitoring cameras and encourages the Department of Corrections to fund this request.
A Response is Required
The California Penal Code requires the California Department of Corrections to respond in writing to the Grand Jury's recommendation contained in this report, and to submit its response to the presiding judge of the Sacramento Superior Court by September 30, 1999.